Thanksgiving is a day for feasting with good friends and family. Indulging in the spreads of sweet and savory foods on this memorable day requires a great deal of cooking. Spending time in the kitchen over a hot stove or oven can lead to a range of common cooking hazards.
Foods typically cooked on Thanksgiving include turkey, green bean casseroles, homemade stuffing and pie. Preparing these all-time favorite dishes at once or amidst the frenzy of the holiday can cause undue stress and carelessness—and lead to the following dangers in the kitchen.
1. Kitchen Fire
The most common hazard during Thanksgiving is the cooking fire. The National Fire Protection Agency warns that Thanksgiving is the peak day for cooking fires. The number of kitchen fires spikes on this November day, surpassing those that occur on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Leaving the stove or oven unattended is the number one reason for cooking fires on Thanksgiving. A house full of excited guests can easily distract even the most attentive cook. Practice fire safety by staying in the kitchen when broiling, frying, baking or grilling food.
Family gatherings on this special day are likely to include children. The splashes from liquids boiling on the stove can cause serious burns to children. Ensure the safety of youngsters by enforcing a three-foot safe zone around the hot oven. Also keep knives out of their reach.
In the event of large, uncontrollable flames, do not attempt to extinguish them; doing so may lead to a fire-related injury. Instead, evacuate the property and close all doors to contain the fire. Small fires must be extinguished with a fire extinguisher—not water.
2. Turkey Fryer Fire
Deep frying the turkey is becoming increasingly popular. The juicy, cooked meat bursting with sealed-in flavors is savored by guests and therefore the preferred way to prepare the bird. But ignoring safety precautions for deep frying the turkey can lead to injury and fire.
Fryers are known to tip over, spilling several gallons of hot oil. Overfilling the pot with oil can lead to spillover once the turkey is dropped inside; uncontrollable flames will engulf the fryer when the oil hits the burner. Fryers without built-in thermostats can also overheat and combust.
Evade catastrophic fire damage and injury by using the fryer outdoors on a level surface (not on a wooden deck or garage). Measure the correct amount of oil before placing the turkey into the unit. Fully thaw the turkey and pat it dry to prevent hot oil from splattering and popping.
3. Cluttered Kitchen
Cooking while entertaining in the kitchen is a common scenario on Thanksgiving. The cook is surrounded by not only guests but a mess of hot plates, appliances and electrical cords. A kitchen overcrowded with equipment can lead to dangerous outcomes, like kitchen fires.
Reduce disorder and distractions by limiting the number of guests in the kitchen while the family cook is busy with meal preparations. Slow cookers that must be plugged in should have a separate area near an outlet. Do not use extension cords, as they can overload an outlet.
4. Defective Equipment
Cooking fires may be ignited by faulty kitchen equipment. Prepare in advance by examining the stove for mechanical issues. Schedule a repair as soon as the issue starts. Maintain all other cooking equipment to ensure they are functional prior to heavily using them on Thanksgiving.
Plan ahead by ensuring the kitchen counter has sufficient space and outlets for cooking on the big day. Inspect the cords on appliances, like the slow cooker; immediately replace cords that are frayed or worn. Do not place combustible items on the stove, even when it is turned off.
As part of routine fire safety, especially prior to Thanksgiving Day, test the smoke detectors. A smoke alarm that is in good working order will sound a warning when a fire breaks out, allowing the family and guests to evacuate the home and avoid fire-related injuries.
5. Turkey Carving
Countless people accidentally injure themselves when carving the cooked bird. Even experienced chefs are not always able to escape severe cuts caused by turkey carving mishaps. Whether experienced or inexperienced, turkey carvers can avoid hazards by following these safety tips.
Avoid cutting toward oneself, and do not place hands under the blade to catch the meat. Sharpen the knife prior to use; dull knives will require excessive force, which can be dangerous. Kitchen shears are necessary to cut turkey bones. Make sure the cutting utensils are dry to avoid slips.
Bleeding from minor cuts will usually stop with direct pressure to the wound. Seek medical help when a cut continues to bleed heavily after 15 minutes despite the application of pressure. Visit a hand surgeon when fingers become difficult to move or bend or are persistently numb.
Contact a Professional for Fire Damage Restoration
An unforeseen cooking accident can put a damper on the Thanksgiving festivities. By taking appropriate safety precautions, this special day may be enjoyed without unintended disasters. But when a cooking fire causes fire damage, turn to ServiceMaster.
As a professional fire damage restoration company, ServiceMaster is prepared to return your damaged property to its original condition. Our experienced technicians utilize advanced cleaning products and equipment to clean, repair and restore the affected areas.
Smoke and soot are pervasive and can lead to widespread damage, like discoloration, etching and foul odors. Even once the fire is extinguished, the water damage left behind by the fire hoses will require prompt attention from professionals. Our comprehensive services include water damage restoration.
As a part of planning for the Thanksgiving celebrations, keep the phone number for our restoration service handy. ServiceMaster offers emergency smoke and fire damage restoration to homeowners and commercial businesses in South Central and Southeastern Nebraska 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.